Arsenal are hoping to pile further misery on their bitter North London rivals Tottenham, but manager Arsene Wenger remains wary and is playing his cards close to his chest ahead of the derby.
Tottenham Hotspur will be without their two best players on either end of the pitch. Centre-back Toby Alderweireld and striker Harry Kane are big doubts heading into the high octane clash at the Emirates Stadium.
The lily whites are also coming off a demoralizing loss to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. It seems like the perfect time for the Gunners to stamp their authority on this fixture, with Wenger’s men on top of their game and riding on a nine game unbeaten streak in the Premier League.
Arsenal will still be watching out for them this weekend though. Veteran manager Arsene Wenger isn’t getting too confident ahead of the game, and the Frenchman stressed on the importance of not underestimating Spurs.
“It is an interesting clash,” said Wenger, according to the official club website.
“For us it is a very important game because we are in a strong position in the league that we want to strengthen. Overall Tottenham [are in a good position] as well, so it is very tight at the top of the league
“We have to expect Tottenham to be at their best and respond really with a performance that will be effective. I believe the mastery on our side will be no matter who they play, how well they play, that we are strong enough to win the game.”
Tottenham are like a wounded animal, and there’s nothing like the North London derby to work up the Spurs. They are the only unbeaten team left in the Premier League, and as such an Arsenal victory would be a cherished scalp for the Gunners as well.
Although Kane and Alderweireld are injury worries, Mauricio Pochettino has a strong squad to choose from. South Korean forward Son Heung-Min has been a revelation for them this season, and played an important role in their emphatic victory over Manchester City.
A power packed attacking midfield of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli will also be looking to make sure Kane’s absence isn’t felt too much. In defence, the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Danny Rose are all on top of their games.
Arsenal have struggled a bit, although the results show otherwise. After the big win against Chelsea last month, they made hard work of victories over Burnley and Swansea City. They followed that up with a goalless draw against Middlesbrough, which was glossed over by the thrashing of this season’s whipping boys Sunderland last week.
The Gunners will also most likely be without their midfield general Santi Cazorla, and this could have a massive impact on the game. They are also facing a crisis in defence, with Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Keiran Gibbs all in doubt for the big game.
While a win would be much appreciated, the Gunners cannot afford to lose at this juncture. All things considered, Arsene Wenger should probably take a cautious approach to the North London derby.